Irish people can't deal with the other woman, says Melanie Verwoerd
THE partner of the late broadcaster Gerry Ryan has said Irish people struggle with the "other woman" in relationships after marriages have ended.
Melanie Verwoerd, who was going out with the DJ at the time his death in April 2010, said that even though there is divorce in Ireland, there is a sense of discomfort in dealing with new partners.
Her comments came in an interview on BBC Radio 4's 'Woman's Hour' where she said that after Mr Ryan's funeral, she was faced with huge media attention.
"Originally it was just purely because I was the other woman, that I was his new partner and it is something that Ireland is struggling with even though divorce has been legal in Ireland since the 1990s," she said.
"There is, I think, a difficulty in dealing with the second partner."
Ms Verwoerd was promoting her memoir 'When We Dance', which details her life in South African politics as well as her time with the late broadcaster.
The inquest into Ryan's death, during which it emerged that there were traces of cocaine in his blood, was "very difficult to deal with", she said.
"Minute traces of cocaine (were found) in his blood and that led to another media drama where frankly the media destroyed his reputation. A lot of it was just pure lies," she said.
Ms Verwoerd said she had written the book partly to get her own story out there but also to fulfill a promise she had made to Ryan.
"Two weeks before Gerry died, he had also asked me to make sure I will write my story because I had said that if you are only 45, it is ridiculous to write your life story.
"He had also made me promise to talk about him and our relationship should he ever die.
And then he died two weeks later so this is part of honoring that promise to him," she said.
Describing her former partner as "the most amazing man", she said that they never spoke to the media when they were together.
"I have mixed with a lot of clever people in my life but he was the most extraordinary intellect.
He had the fantastic charm. He was the best listener I ever met and he was just a kind and funny and incredibly generous man," she said.
"From the first evening we spent together, it was just very clear we were soulmates and I spent the happiest two-and-a-half years of my life with him."
After his funeral, she continued to refuse to speak about him, she said, at a time when press attention was increasing.
"I have been watching (the) Leveson (inquiry) and a lot of things rang true for me as well, having to face the media outside my door for months and my doorbell being rung and my children being hounded," she said.